Saturday, April 19, 2014

Week 68 (4/7-4/14)

 Well family and friends this past week was awesome. And today marks the first day of the transfer. No changes have been made other than Elder Cook will be training the new Armenian Elder that will be coming in on the 29...Elder Tavoian. But besides that... nothing too much. We had all expected that Elder Tyler would have been put into English work but yet another curve-ball after no call was received by the Assistants. I am really looking forward to this transfer. We have a lot going on right now and things only seem to be going up! Also this past week I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON IN ARMENIAN. I was super stoked about that. I wish I would have made a bigger priority of finishing it sooner but better late than never!
     Last Monday was rather eventful. After emailing we sadly had to go into the office to wash the car and then turn it in for the time being. So this past week has been a lot of bus stops, walking and biking for the first time in months! Thankfully Ashot wanted to go out to lunch and was willing to come pick us up! So he took us out to In 'n out and then went back to the Church. He told us all about General Conference in utah and how again he got pulled over going 120 or something but got out of the ticket by saying he was going to Conference... at least the cop didn't do a temple session with him this time. So it was kind of slow after that. We walked up to Rita's for dinner and she made a feast for us and the Bradley's. Seriously. hav and mis xorovats, brins, hummus, mutabel and then this weird delicious dessert that was like a rice pudding. But it took forever unfortunately. Rita was telling us about how her work isn't paying her for all the days she works and how it is just stressful and busy for her. To add to that, she should have been getting the word back from her lawyers about her husband being able to come visit in the fall. By the time we got out of there and sharing a message about the Book of Mormon, it was 8. So we decided to stop by Edwin.. even though during the lesson with Rita Ashot had called and told us that he had cancelled the lesson because something came up... which was really frustrating. So the Bradley's took us up there to try and see if we could still have a lesson but only Verzhik was there because Edwin had left to go somewhere because we cancelled... but it was really good to introduce them to Verzhik. She is solid and her english is really good surprisingly! 
     Tuesday was a bit slow... we ended studies early and busses up to GCC to go up and do the booth. But unfortunately the zone leaders and the G7 sisters were already up there and there wasn't  a point for all 6 of us to be up there... they were playing their guitar and the Sisters had written some super duper long quote up on the board in hopes that people would approach them... so yeahhh we went back to the institute and did some studies and planned a bit for how we could use internet proselyting more efficiently! It has been awesome though, for this whole week (13 April - Easter Sunday) the Church is having a massive push for media advertisement and all mobile device missionaries will be posting quotes, pictures and videos this whole week with the theme #BecauseofHim and it is estimated just on YouTube alone to have 110 MILLION views. So I am super excited to be a part of that this week. But last week we were still just figuring out how to best go around talking to some of the people that we had been in contact with from my video and potentials and stuff. It is really interesting to see how much more willing someone is to add us on FaceBook than give us their address or phone number. But anyways... we went back to the pad and finished our studies.. I had a big push to finish my reading and got it done :) So i was super happy about that. Feel very accomplished. After studies we went down to visit Jerry and had a nice visit with him. It wasn't very long before he had to go to have his dinner. Love Jerry. Can't remember what he was talking about but I just remember it was VERY hot that day and Elder Twelves was asleep while I was asking him to tell me stories about when he lived in Armenia. We left and then went to try to visit this family that the zone leaders passed off to us down on San Fernando and Glendale. They weren't home.. well we actually found out that we had gone to the wrong apartment building but it was good.. other than baking in the heat. blarg it is going to be such a hot summer... but the good news was, we had dinner with the Carlins once we bussed back to the Church. It was delicious. Elder Carvajal joined us while he was on exchanges with Elder Tyler. It was great, Sister Carlin sang us some awesome pieces on the piano while we were eating our dessert (she is a professional opera singer). Very classy. We headed to the Church after to go out on some splits with the leadership. We went up to see Edwin with Brother Bradley (Ashot bailed again and said that he had to go and take care of Hambarsoom again...thankfully he didn't call and cancel with him). We went over there and had a really good lesson with him. He is getting kind of fed up with Ashot telling him that he'll do something for him but not being able to.. he was really stresed and really needs Ashot to come help him out with his car situation. But we talked to them both about what we knew about Joel Kasparian and then tied it in to the Plan of Salvation and how it brings peace in our lives. Verzhik really understood that in order to achieve Celestial glory we need to live the Gospel. They had a lot of questions and really good comments about the Gospel, especially baptism. They said that they had learned about all these things in their Church in Iran. We felt the spirit really strong and extended the baptismal invitation to them with a date 27 April. They were pretty hesitant, saying they weren't ready and that it would take years to feel ready, but that they hadn't ever been baptized before. But they committed to pray about it.  Before we headed home we stopped by Hambarsoom's to see how he was doing, Brother Townsend and Ashot were over there already and had given him a blessing. We came and shared a scripture with him and then left. He is looking a lot better. 
     Wednesday was SUPER long. We had previously planned to go up to Granada Hills and teach their zone the basic Armenian to help them give us some referrals... but we didn't account for us not having a car. So we originally planned to bus (which would have taken 2 and a half hours) but THANKFULLY Nate was going up to North Hollywood and so he was kind enough to give us a lift and save us a whole bunch of time! It was super awesome though, we had the entire zone there and they were all eager to learn and to have us there. We even talked to two companionships who either already were teaching Armenian investigators, one of which was only able to read the Armenian material that we have... so we are DEFINITELY going to get on that! After that however, we had the long trek back to Glendale. we had the zone leaders give us a ride to a potential that we had in Northridge since it was about a 4 mile walk from the church that we were at. It took a total of three busses and a subway ride to get back.. a grand total of about 3 hours!! What made it worse was the heat and that no one was really on the busses to talk to so it was really hard to stay awake... but the subway was cool down to downtown Hollywood! When we finally got back to Glendale we stopped by that new health smoothie place to get a drink since we were starving and the owner Jason hooked us up. We finished studies back at the Church. Then we grabbed our bikes at the pad and were supposed to meet with Ashot and go up and teach Edwin but he rescheduled for later so we went over and tried by this kid that Elder Twelves had met a while back while on exchanges with Elder Tovey. He was home and even let us in and told us that he was actually hoping that we would stop by so we could answer some of his questions. We weren't sure if he was 'all there' but he was gladly participating because of whatever he was on at the time but we had a great 20 min lesson with him and were even able to invite him to be baptized. His parents walked in though right around that time which made it a bit hesitating as to what they would think or if they would interject if they heard the invitation. But all was well! After that we rode back over to Ashot's and met up with him to drive up to Edwin who was very happy to see us all. Edwin and Ashot talked for a while about his car situation and what he would need to do to get a new one. But because of some bad financial decisions and people taking advantage of Edwin, he has a low credit score. But we were able to follow up with them on how their reading had been going and I guess they had been going back and forth between Armenian and Farsi and had been reading it slowly but consistently! We also gave them a children's version of the Book of Mormon, which they were excited for.
     Thursday we had a district meeting on planning... afterwards we went back to the pad and how some lunch and finished planning before we headed up to Burbank to try by some people. But again, Nathan came to the rescue and was awesome enough to drive us up there and try by some people! Who weren't home... but we did get some delicious frozen yogurt for a pickmeup and talked about career paths when we come home... no idea what I wanna do. Elder Twelves having to sign back up for school makes it hard not to do the same and it is stressful! He had to run though and dropped us off in Burbank to try by some others. Walking to our next potential took longer than we thought so by the time we arrived we had to go find a bus and wait, and wait, and wait. Finally we were done with waiting (very patient of us) and we had khoa come and pick us up so we could meet Brother Bradley at the Church so he could give us a ride to his house for dinner. Which was awesome yet disappointing. Ashot and Adrineh were originally supposed to come but Ashot brought Hambarsoom instead. Which was still awesome, but we were really hoping to start teaching her. The other Elders taught him a lesson after and then we went out with Brother Bradley to go stop by Rima. She and Raymond were home and Bradley wanted to have a more serious conversation with her. We translated for him and basically he was just trying to come to the group so she could be a better example for her children to follow, especially with her husband passing away years before, how we are blessed through living the gospel of Christ and how our original meetin with them was not by accident. She kept bringing up that they were too busy and just wasn't having it. Ragned came home mid-way through and by then it was frustrating because she was telling us that none of us had really been through any trials and didn't understand how they felt... so we left with a prayer and told them about our Easter service. Just. wasn't very happy with them. Just makes me sad they won't see the importance when it is right in front of them. 
     Friday inbetween studies and weekly planning we were supposed to go over and help Edwin make a resume with Ashot but Edwin never called us... so we went out to lunch at Glendale Market and it took forever because they were so busy... so after lunch we headed back to the church and weekly planned and figured out the routes that we needed to figure out for our stake activity of passing out flyers through all of glendale to invite people to the Armenian Group! But it took a lot longer than we thought it would. That evening we got a call from Elder Coontz and Williams telling us they needed us to cover a lesson with an new investigator that they tried to call and reschedule because they were stuck at a busstop somewhere. So we went down there and met with this man, Gerald, who was really mad that the other Elders tried to cancel because he was going to invite his daughter to come and listen and meet with us.. but he was glad we came. we were too because he was BOMB. He is a decorated vietnam vet and had lost his wife a few years ago and now only has his daughter and some grandkids. He was super open. Like, Julian and LIsa open and asking good quesions. told us he wanted to quit smoking. was raised catholic. We went through the first lesson and then he said the closing prayer and the spirit was so strong that it brought him to tears. We invited to be baptized and he said absolutely if that is what God wanted him to do. 
     Saturday we had the massive stake activity where some from each ward and all the missionaries came and went around putting door hangers that had the Armenian group info on it. It was awesome, we had about 60 people come including the zone of missionaries. I went out with Nate and his girls and it was so awesome! they were troopers, Nate had promised one of them 10 cents for every one that she put on the door (she is six) and it was awesome. What person would deny a little girl putting a picture of christ on their door???? My strategy exactly... so we did that for about 4 hours that morning and then went out to lunch after at the greek place. which was delicious. Went back and finished studies, tried by rodrick and then had to bike all the way down to this referral on san fernando because we forgot the zone leaders had set something up.. they weren't home. So we stopped by Fariba whose husband let us in for some water and then she came home and was mad we had stopped by and this third guy got mad we were there and said he had talked to the leadership before and told them that if we tried to get them to come to church that they would call the police... I replied that we had only stopped by for water and they felt guilty that they were getting mad... that made me frustrated. Then we biked back up to another referral on cedar with this guy who requested a book of mormon. he was nice but only wanted the book.. he answered the door in his tighty whities which was weird so we left without pushing coming in... It was a slow night though. We stopped by the davtians for a bit. 
     Sunday was awesome. We had a few people come to church, some we didn't know. Edwin came for Priesthood which I was teaching about the significance of the Sacrament. We ordained Hambarsoom to the office of a priest in the priesthood. We were super glad that Edwin came. Verzhik didn't but she was busy with Edwin's mom with something. AFter church we tried by aylin and zhorants.. weren't home. Then the bradleys came and picked us up to go to the la canada baptism with the armenian kid whose parents weren't even in attendance of the baptism... got to meet Kate Hansen though who was an olympic luge athlete in Russia. So that was cool. AFter that the townsends dropped us off at Helgas, stopped by and apologized that we hadn't told them that the picnic was canceled. After, I went with Elder Williams to pass of Gerald which was a bomb lesson on the BofM. He said he would read it in about 2 weeks. Was asking great questions. He came to Church that morning to the first ward and stayed all three hours. committed him to be baptized on the 18 May. He said if it is God's will he will do it 110%! He is a stud. Then to top off the night we had one of the best lessons with Joey. Him and Ella had been praying and had received some answers (trying to find a tv stand at a cheaper price, ella suggested prayer and they found one). then ella had to leave for a massage at 930 at night.. i know right? but Joey started asking why dwe dont' work on sundays. discussed keeping the sabbath day holy. read from the bible . then joey started asking some questions about what the gospel is had a really good discussion about how the gospel blesses families, talked about prophets and relations to general conference. Joey had the condcern that prophets could talk to god. He brough up Joseph smiths retranslation of the bible somehow. he brough up the scriptures in revelation. Refuted it pretty hard and commited him to pray and he said the closing prayer. It was awesome.

Well I'm out of time for today. I love you all very much! Have a great Easter! Remember, He lives!

Elder DeBry

General Conference Quotes

Hi again! here are some of my top quotes and questions that I loved from all the sessions of Conference!!

General conference top quotes

"Be strong. Live the Gospel." - Elder Jeffery R. Holland

"Sustaining comes with sharing their burden." - President Ronald A. Rasband

"The greatest filter is a deep and abiding love of God and our
Savior." - Sister Linda S. Reeves

"All things will work out." - President Henry B. Eyring

"Let us have the courage that brings the smile of God's approval." -
Elder Russell M. Nelson

"Share your conviction... How can we become and influence?" - Elder
Richard G. Scott

"Be careful who you follow." - Elder Robert D. Hales

"Forget about rights and focus on your responsibilities." - Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"Are we willing to act, are we willing to change?" - President Donald
L. Hallstrom

"Don't let your choices degrade your potential...remember who you
were." - Elder Randall L. Ridd

"We will all be a model of a good priesthood man." - President Henry B. Eyring

 "Only if we listen can we be changed by ordinances." - President Boyd K. Packer

"No sacrifice is too great to receive the blessings if The Lord" -
Elder William R. Walker

"Heaven will members living close together... Through natural
consequences we will be humbled and return to God... Do we understand
Abraham's faith and obedience?... We have a unique premortal story...
Obedience is an emblem of faith." - Elder L. Tom Perry

"Realize how close God is willing to come, and how far he is willing
to go." - President Thomas S. Monson

Elder Tanner DeBry

Week 67 (4/2-4/7)

 Well hello my family and friends! It has been a jammed packed last few days since our Wednesday p-day. Who knew that so much could happen in such a short amount of time! Especially since this upcoming week I'll be approaching my 18th month mark... I don't even want to think about that. I love you all, but I never want to come home!... there is just too much work to be done here and too many Armenian families waiting to hear the gospel.
     So last Wednesday like I said was our temple trip/p-day which was awesome. Got some great insights of the mysteries of the kingdom! After the trip though the leadership that took us wanted to take us to grab some lunch while the morning traffic died down and that was only about 2 miles away from the temple and near the santa monica pier! Turns out they took us ONTO the pier and to Bubba Gumps to have some lunch with a view of the ocean... made me uneasy that we were there  but we were all just pretty astounded that we were by the beach! So it was pretty cool. After lunch we drove back and all decided we needed a quick powernap before we emailed home. The rest of the evening after p-day ended was slow. Ragned was home but Raymond wasn't so we weren't able to come in... so we tried by Elisabet and Sona again but they weren't home either. By that point we had to go back to the Church to teach our Armenian class that is so successful... no one came again. It might be shut down soon. But it was worth a try again! We had planned to see Christine Hagopian after as well but her regular scripture study class taught by Chrisy Frandsen was cancelled and so she went home. When we called her though she broke the news that she hadn't been completely honest with us whenever we would call and follow up with how her smoking was going. She had only been a few days at a time and then would get frustrated with someone. That got us down because we thought she had been doing do well. After all that we had also planned to see Adrineh but that didn't work out either. Instead, Ashot wanted to get some McDonalds ice cream as we talked about Hambarsoom not being able to go to Conference because of his health. Which we were all bummed about. Including Hambarsoom. Funny story though. While having ice cream Ashot decided he wanted Dicus to come down to a session with him while he was up there and so we called him and got to talk to him. Long time no talk with that kid. missed him for sureeee. 
     Thursday was Zone Training! And it was actually a lot better than the last one in my opinion. The topic was planning and relating it to all the things that we had learned in the temple the day before. There were some great insights. One of the things taught though that really made an impact on me was one of the things that our new sister trainer, Sister Baum, taught us. (and I invite you all to do it.) She had us all close our eyes. And think of a friend, a family member or just someone we care about. Once we had thought of that person she had us think of where we want them to be, what was our VISION for them. In the temple? Mission? Baptized? and once we thought of that we talked about what plans we had already laid out in our mind to accomplish that vision. What goals we had set for them and how we were going to be accountable so we could improve. And all this was then related to how we need to see our investigators. More often than not we get caught up in just trying to teach the lessons that we know will help people. But that exercise helped us to really feel that we needed to have a vision for these people. Our brothers and sisters. Our fathers and friends. Once we have that we are more capable of helping them reach that destination. So I liked that. After the meeting all four of us went back home to grab some food and finish language study. That afternoon Elder Twelves and I headed up to North Hollywood to see some of the members that we had planned to see now that we had a ward list of people in that stake. The first one we were able to talk to the nonmember husband. Who was very stubborn and "already knows everything there is to know about the gospel". mmmmmhmmm. Sure ya do! He was nice though and gave us some water.. even though we asked for it hoping he would invite us inside. Next place we had to jump a fence to get into the apartment building. Which I love doing and feel so sneaky. Elder Twleves cut/punctured his hand while doing so and left a big shoe print on my shirt as he was jumping over. Too bad they weren't home though... traffic got pretty bad and were only able to stop by a few more before we had to head back to have dinner with Ashot before he left for Salt lake. We stopped by and got some perashkis that had nutella in them (perashkis being this deep fried donut kind of thing that sometimes has meat or potatoe or sweets in them). Then we took Ashot over to Glendale Market because he had never been! He loved it. Then we sent him off to make the long drive to utah to see conference because he "promises so never just watch the conference on TV." What if funny though is every time he drives up or is coming back, he gets a ticket. but gets out of it because he said he is going to conference and is a convert to the Church... oh Ahsot... last time I think he actually got the office to go and do a temple session with him while he was near st. George... SO FUNNY. Anyways. After that we tried by Sarman but wasn't home and then drove up this canyon road up to Tujunga to see Joey and Ella. We had a really good lesson with them. Joey had some good questions about why we go to Church each Sunday and we explained the sacrament and importance of the baptismal covenant. Somehow we started talking about Funeral services and how our Church views death differently. Ella is still bitter as to why bad things happen. But we assured them they they could gain a witness for themselves as they pray, read and especially by watching general conference! We got them both to watch conference this past weekend. But I'll be sure to tell you that when I get to Sunday. 
     Friday was rather uneventful other than our lunch hour was filled with Elder Tyler and Twelves wrestling again... surprisingly Elder Tyler and his skills are improving! Plus he has Elder cook as a coach... but we taught them how to choke each other out which was good! Weekly planning was rather productive. We have a lot of potentials coming out of the woodwork which is awesome and we are SO excited for Edwin and his family still. Seriously every time we go over we are just so excited to teach him and he is eager to learn and participate. We did have a lot of weekly planning wiggles that we needed to get out though. But those are normal. Not much else happened that evening. We tried by some more people in Burbank. No one was home. We stopped by Aylin and caught her home. they were re-doing her floors. we told her about conference and she said she'd try and watch some. On our way home we got stopped by a group of kids asking what we were doing and it turned into them wanting to come to primary and young womens. One of the girls being Armenian and saying that her parents would 'TOTALLY let me do that'. 
     Saturday was GENERAL CONFERENCE!! In case you didn't know... Seriously I love General Conference so much. It is so awesome to be able to listen to such inspiring words! I'll probably attach some of my favorite quotes that I compiled but it was awesome. Saturday morning we were at the Central building. Watched conference. Edwin didn't come even though he said he'd be there... for  lunch inbetween sessions Khoa got us a bunch of little ceasar's pizza and it was delicious and awesome while Elder Carvajal expounded some of the things that the MLC got to learn during their temple session with President and a special Q&A session with the Temple president. Afternoon session awesome. After that we went up to La Canada to get some Los Gringos Locos and we saw one of the stake presidency members, President Woodhouse, and he picked up the check which was awesome. Then we went to the Stake Center to watch the Priesthood session which was probably one of my favorites. Makes me really miss being in Utah though. Watching the session with my pops and then dinner after. But it was still good. After the session we stopped by Alina and Karogh's to see if Iskui was there... but she wasn't and neither was karogh so we couldn't go in. But we stopped by Haik and Annie's place and FINALLY saw Haik. He was half asleep and wasn't too interested in listening but let us in and we were able to teach a lesson and invite him to watch a session of conference. Last stop of the night was Helga! She made us more food which is called spas which is a yogurt soup that was very interesting... they weren't able to see the sessions that morning so we talked about what we had learned and then committed them to watch it the next day. They also gave us a big, bright pink cake! 
     Sunday morning we had the Armenian translation of Conference. Not too many people showed up but we had Rita, Jerry, crazy Minas and some of the english leadership who brough some breakfast fruit and yogurt sturffs. But best of all... duh duh duh duh!! Edwin and his wife came! they were a bit late but came in and sat right now and watched and loved it!! after it ended we showed them a bit more around the church including the primary room and the baptismal font room. It was so awesome. They were really happy they had a place that their kids could come and learn. SO EXCITED FOR THEM. We'll see them tonight and hopefully finally meet their kids! AFter that we dropped the other elders off and then head up to Joey and Ella's to watch conference with them! They wanted us to go to the store with them and get some meat but we convinced them otherwise and to keeep the Sabbath day holy :) Ella had to run one of her neices home and get some food from her sisters house since we wouldn't let them go to the store. So Joey watched a good majority of the session and thankfully the Plewe's were there as well to watch since Joey had mentioned it to them that they were going to watch and have us over. So we watched and Joey was asking questions and stuff. It was awesome. It ended and Ella finally got back and we made some burgers and had a good discussion over dinner with them about what they thought and answered some of their questions. I guess Joey had the Tv on since about 8 that morning and watched some of the morning session as well! But it was awesome to have the Plewe's there to really show an example to Joey. They definitely listened better now that they were there. The rest of the night we tried by Aylin and Zhorants again and Zhorants was finally home! Aylin had to go to the store but we were able to have Zhorants watch a talk from conference which was awesome. It was funny: he is afraid to be alone with his new born son emanoel and as soon as Aylin left, he started crying. Super funny. To end the night off, Elder Tyler and Twelves had a rematch of wrestling.... which turned into Elder Cook wrestling Elder Twelves and then finally making Elder Twelves pass out... it was quite eventful. 

Anyways!! It was a great week. Conference was awesome. The work is hastening. I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 

Elder DeBry

Week 66 (3/24-4/2)

 Well hello family!! I'm sorry this email is a few days late but this week we were able to go to the temple today and so our preparation day was changed to today and I had totally forgotten about it last week in my email... so sorry about that! But it has been an awesome, awesome week and a half. I can't even remember all that we did but I just know that it was full of miracles and fun stories that I'm hoping will come back to my memory! 
     Last Monday (24 March) was hilarious. After a p-day full of nerf wars and then just emailing, we had Armenian Family Home Evening. And since lately all we have been doing on p-days is nerf gun wars, we decided pretty last minute to do the lesson on the Armor of God and have all of our members shoot Elder Tyler with the fiery darts of the adversary as he was putting on this ski gear that posed as his 'armor'. Which was hilarious. Highlight of the night was seeing Anoush pick up the big bazooka we have and start to say "OOHHHHHH MAMA-JAN!!!!" and then proceed to shoot people, especially Ashot. I got a few pretty priceless pictures that is for sure. But then we realized that Helga had previously called us and told us she had some food for us to come pick up so we biked over to her house and on the way back Elder Twelves crashed his bike into me... don't ask me how but all of a sudden all i heard was "Elder...Elder! ELDER!!! I'M SO SORRY ELDER! I'M SO SORRY ELDER!!" And then WHAM crashed into me due to a lack of braking on his part and it was so random I couldn't help but laugh. Especially when he was just laying on the ground and kept saying I'm so embarrassed right now... Oh Elder Twelves!
     Tuesday then involved us going up to North Hollywood again to teach the other English district the basic Armenian to help the work move along. I have to say I definitely enjoyed teaching the Spanish district much more because they were more excited to learn more language abilities. Which I can totally see. But after that lesson, Elder Twelves and I went up to GCC to catch some free lunch. After lunch we really went on an adventure. We drove down to West Hollywood to see that inactive family that we didn't have time to visit last week but were expecting us and we felt pretty bad. But anyways they welcomed us in and we got to talk to them more about how they met the missionaries and etc. we started teaching them from the Book of Mormon to invite them to read and then one of their daughters came over with her kids and kinda killed it. She was super nice but the kids were distracting and so on and so forth. But the daughter was nice and open to having us come over. Even though her husband is/or was a priest in his own religion/church. Unfortunately she lives in Northridge which is forever away... also tried by their russian neighbors again but the wife wasn't there and the husband was quite frankly mad that we would even look at his door and this of talking to them about anything....  but anyways after that we tried by a few other members which didn't exist. One of which Elder Twelves tried to find a house that we didn't have a map to all he knew/remembered was that it was by the hollywood dam and if we just went north on these side streets that we would be SURE to find it... of course we didn't find it!!! 45 minutes later of just trying to find it, seeing some awesome views by the way of RIGHT UNDERNEATH THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN and then taking the most twisty-curvy road possible back down the mountain. Ohhhhhh I was so happy with him but it turned out alright. It is a good laugh, right? After we finally got back to Glendale it was about time to meet Bradley, Ashot and Hambarsoom at this greek food place for another celebratory dinner in honor of Hambarsoom. It was kind of a big deal with Ashot because he was late and not able to get Hambo so we did and then Adrineh ended up not coming which was part of our plan of teaching for the night... but it was good. Spasiba good...:) but after we went up to visit Edwin after Ashot went up to drop Hambarsoom off at the Hospital to visit someone. And we had an awesome visit with Edwin. Whose neighbor by the way had seen my video on facebook and said "heyy you're that guy from facebook right? Aren't your from Utah?" Which I thought was awesome!... but anyways, Ashot did such an awesome job. The whole reason we were bringing him was so Edwin could get some job connections and such and after they were done talking about job, Ashot tied it perfectly into what we were going to teach and such. It was awesome and Edwin loved Ashot. After that lesson we rushed over to see Rita who we hadn't seen in a few weeks so we went over with Bradley. She had been really upset for the past few days because of all the turmoil in Syria which is her home country. Apparently the Muslims are going through the highly populated Armenian/Christian cities and towns and bombing and killing thousands of people. Not only that but blowing off the crosses of their Churches and replacing them with the Islamic flag.... so she was really upset and we talked to her and gave her a blessing. So all y'all, keep Syria in your prayer please and thank you!! There are a lot of members and people we work with that have close ties there and your prayers will help them be prepared for our message. 
     Wednesday was pretty scoooo! after studies we went over with Nate to office depot to print off the flyers that we used at the LA Kings game on Saturday! Not sure if I told y'all about that... but yeah! Anyways after we made the flyers, which was hilarious by the way because the lady at office depot was having fun with us. We headed up to North Hollywood that afternoon to try and visit Yervand but he wasn't home... so we went and got some lunch at what we thought would be an Armenian place to eat but it was Arabic... and it was spensive. But oh well. After which we went by and taught Arpa! Who was still super happy she had gone to G7 sacrament and looking forward to go again. Her parents were home who we were really trying to get to be introduced to but they weren't too open to talking with us. But we talked with Arpa what she thought about Church and had some questions and then she just came out and said she wanted to learn what we were all about! Which was awesome. She even asked about baptism because there was a confirmation at the sacrament she came to. She knew that it was a big commitment and said "I don't know if I'm ready for that!" before we had even invited her to be baptized... but it was awesome that she was already thinking about it. It was a good lesson though. Later that night we went by the Mohlman family! Sister Mohlman is Armenian and is active and married with kids in the Burbank ward! Her husband isn't Armenian but she has a lot of family members who are also members but not active. She was... well, an Armenian woman. Very all over the place. Super nice. But again all over the place. Got some good potentials from them though! Dinner went a little long and then we had to rush off to Armenian class... which no one came to and then we had Christine Hagopian cancel on us. Lame sauce. But she is smoke free for a few weeks now! So that is good. 
     Thursday we had Sister Becerra come to our district meeting! Which is always a nice surprise. She is like an angel. But after the meeting we took some time to do some Facebook which we have been neglecting lately. And I went through and messaged a lot of the people who either shared or commented on that video of me speaking and thus far I've gotten some people now asking questions and one lady asked us to come to the Armenian Church with her and then we'll have her come to ours in return! So pretty cool what we can do over facebook nowadays! Then we had some bomb leftovers of the greek place. That night after dinner with the Bradley's, we were supposed to go to an Armenian baptism (a high school kid in a seminary class up there) that was going to take place up in La Canada but the boy's Mom told him that he wasn't ready and that she wants him to wait a few weeks and talk to the Armenian priest about it... so we are sure he will be baptized in the coming weeks and then we can start talking to his family. So instead we went over to Ella and Joey's and they fed us a second dinner and we had a really good discussion with them. It was more of a casual conversation that was based on the Gospel and Ella had questions from Tithing, Chastity and temple marriage and then why we decided to serve missions. She has such awesome questions and can feel the spirit but she just is hesitant. All the while Joey was just asleep on the couch...
     Friday I was on exchanges with Elder Cook! I miss that kid. I love Elder Twelves but he has just been up tight. From all the work we have to do and the little time he has, he is just stressed. So it was nice to be with Elder Cook for the day. I was still with Elder Twelves for the morning just so we could weekly plan and such. Including our weekly breakfast with Nate and workout. After planning though we swapped at McDonalds while the other Elders were waiting for Zach Morell to come down and be with them for the day (the first called Armenian missionary whom I replaced). So Elder Cook and I went off to go to our lunch appointment with Sarkis and Tamica! The couple from lebanon that made Elder Dicus and I lunch before. They were happy to see us and fed us a good lunch and we were able to share a message of the Restoration after. In which I had forgotten the first vision because I hadn't used it in a while for some reason... but it was good and hopefully we we'll be able to teach them again soon. We had to rush over to Varter's though for a quick visit. They fed us some bomb birthday cake since it was her birthday the day before. She was super happy and quirky for once which I hadn't seen in a while! But it made it a good mood of a visit instead of her gloomy, sick state of being. After that we tried by some people and were unsure what we could do for a lack of planning on our part... I hate not planning. But we got picked up by Mike and Bridget to go grab some lunch at a Pho place which was really good. I miss those two! Still where they are when I was teaching them a year ago but they will come around some point... they dropped us back off after Elder Cook made a deal that if Mike read every day that he would play Magic with him... but it seemed to work so far! We then drove up to see Edwin. Ashot bailed on us again but we had another good visit with Edwin. He was so funny. He loved being able to meet Cook and made sure we knew that we were his brothers and that his door was always open to us. we weren't there long so we didn't have a lesson but he was worried about Ashot because Ashot had used the excuse that he was in the hospital and we weren't sure what was going on. But I guess there was another big earthquake that night... didn't feel it so no worries! Said he would come to church though. 
     Saturday we were super busy. Elder Cook and I ended studies early to try by Jora up in Granada hills. Found him home but he said he was cleaning and busy... so we made another trip over to Northridge to hopefully visit Serge but his wife told us that he wasn't home and she didn't seem to interested in giving us his number. His nice neighbor wasn't home either and we never got a hold of Ripsime's daughter to set up an appointment with her... then we stopped by Yervand again! He was home thankfully and we were let in by his wife and kind of scared him in his kitchen because he couldn't hear us. He was REALLY chatty that day. He seemed to talk about everything. he had some really great stories to tell but trying to talk back to him and tell him we wanted to teach was just really funny because I was seriously yelling at him and almost would start laughing when I had to. But he had read the pamphlet we gave him and seemed to understand it pretty well! Didn't really seem to get the Apostasy so we tried to answer more of that but didn't get through much before we had to head out. but then we stopped by a referral we had received from the Spanish sisters up in that area and we met this Armenian lady who lived there and was super nice. Wasn't too open. But she offered us her granddaughter though which I thought was funny! By the time we were finished with all of those people up in that area and tried by some others in Burbank we had to head back to Glendale to figure everything we needed to do for the booth that night at the LA KINGS HOCKEY GAME! 

I felt like we were really unprepared and we found out that we were... Nate picked us up and took us out to grab something to eat before the game at this Korean BBQ place which was actually really good/interesting. You cooked it yourself and they just gave you all the raw meat you you put it all in front of you and when you were hungry enough to eat it, you ate! So that was fun. Then we arrived at the Staples center a wee later than we planned and had no idea where to go to find this booth that had been set up for us but weren't told where... so we were kind of running around the stadium for a while going from office to office to come to find out that they had taken down table because we were late. But it ended out being pretty good. Supposedly it was "Armenian Heritage night" but I seriously think we only had two or three Armenian contacts... the best contacts we had were with the workers that were standing around the booth manning the doors and couldn't walk away from us! So I felt bad we were unprepared with English supplies and didn't get to talk to a lot of Armenians. Got some cool gear though! So that is important. And we saw an accident where this Lamborghini crashed into this little toyota... so sad. And then we stopped by McDonald's and Nate went through the drive-thru backwards and the manager wouldn't give us our icecream... so it was a very unique night that is for sure!
     Sunday was awesome. Edwin showed up for Sacrament after having gone to the wrong Church building(he went into some Chinese Church and then followed the spirit along Wilson and found our Church!). Elder Twelves and I taught a part of the combined meeting of Relief Society/Priesthood on Service and there were some really good testimonies that Edwin enjoyed! He loved it though. We were even able to introduce him to all of our leadership, including our stake president, President Morgan. We gave him a brief tour to get him more familiar for when he comes to this weekend of Conference (which I'm so excited for). Practiced for our Easter musical number after Church. Then we drove up to Burbank to try by some referrals that the zone leaders had given us from knocking... one of them we actually got in and taught a lesson! Sarman and Yeranuhi. Sarman had some mental disability that he was aware of and he wanted help with that and his grandmother was listening in as well. We taught them the first lesson and they were intently listening! It was pretty awesome actually. He even said a closing prayer. Didn't ask a specific question but we will get there! Later we were up in Tujunga and stopped by Alina and Karo and they were home and had their daughter in law, Iskui over there as well! It was a really good visit. We focused on Iskui because she had met Elders Byron and Judd when they were here way back when but had never been taught. She made us some food and as we were eating we started going through the first lesson and she totally made sense of it and felt the spirit of it. She said a closing prayer and agreed to meet with us after our session on Saturday night. So that was awesome! lastly we tried by Helga and Christine and they fed us some and talked about General Conference! So it was actually a really good night. Some solid potentials and new investigators! 

Wow this is a long email. 

     So this most recent Monday, was not p-day. Again, sorry for no notice. Hope the search and rescue wasn't sent out after me. Went up to the Booth that morning. didn't know it was the job fair up on Campus and we got kicked out of our usual prime spot and were put next to the Jehovah's witnesses... we had the white board up there and had originally wrote up "how to have stronger relationships" but because everyone was just looking for job sturff, we changed it to "how can God help you find a Job?" and that was a little more successful! Funny story though. one of the older Jehovah's witness' came over and told us that if we had anyone asking a lot of hard bible questions to send them over to them... so I made a comment that if they had any Armenians come over to them, to send them our way. He then started telling us how long and vigorous it takes to be a Jehovah's witness and study and tests and such... anyways. Talked to another lady who wants to learn Armenian! Then bused down to Red Robin because we had told Kelsey Glendale that we would come see her at work and she gave us some free shakes. Solid! After lunch the other Armenian Elders dropped us off at another referral we had gotten from a G1 member who was this old lady. She invited us in and we thought she was going to be solid once she started talking about all of her relatives that she had lost. We tried to start to teach her but then she just kept saying the same thing over and over again... then she called her grandson who she was living with and told him that we were over there and that he needed to come meet us. He started to freak out and think that we were some strangers robbing the place and she put us on the phone with him. We figured it out but he still didn't want us in his house without him being there. So we left and that was that! Later that night we were up in Burbank and stopped by the Ainian family again to get more of the ward lists that they hadn't gotten back to us. They gave them to us which will be a big help in building that foundation. They were asking about the work and told us that the elders in their ward were only having two or three lessons with investigators a week and we told them that we had had 8 the week before... so we are doing pretty good I guess! After we stopped by Edwin again and had a BOMB lesson with him. he said that he had loved church and ever since he had been thinking about where we could go to talk to more people and have them come so the building would be full! It was awesome he said he was so jealous of us being missionaries. He was telling us that we just needed to tell people of the difference and then we started teaching him and his wife (who is opening up to us now) about the Book of Mormon. They LOVED it. They were blown away they had never heard of it before or anything! They wanted to start reading it together and the wife asked for a children's copy. It was AWESOME. 
     Tuesday we went up to grab lunch again at GCC. Started teaching some people that commented on my video which was awesome. Then we went up to Yervand and taught him about the Book of Mormon. He was convinced that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet and wrote the Book of Mormon to help people get closer to God. So he said he'd read it but he didn't think he was a prophet or that the Apostasy happened. But after that we had planned out a few members up in that area to try by now that we had finally gotten the member list from the Ainians. We had some awesome street contacts while we were looking for these people. This one guy that I was talking to wasn't interested and trying to play it like he already knew it all and that he knew God but didn't believe the Bible and I was probably the most bold I've ever been with anyone and it was awesome! I started asking about his family and saying how I knew that he hadn't heard what we had to teach him or else him and his family would be happier. He didn't know what to say and then I just gave him our number and walked our ways! It was great. Love talking to people. That night we had dinner with Bradley and Ashot over at Panda since Bradley will be out of town on thursday. After dinner we stopped by Hamarsoom because he was in the hospital for a few days because of some health reasons. AFter we went up to Edwin and his wife to answer any questions they had about the Book of Mormon but they said they had been reading it as a couple and really pondering it! Edwin said "this isn't just abook you can read through, you have to take it slow and really see what it means." He is so solid. he is our next Branch President and family. LOVE TEACHING FAMILIES! Finally after that lesson we stopped by Rita again and shared a short message. She has been working alot and under a lot of stress so she appreciated the visit. She is so funny complaining to us about her bosses at work and such. She is like a little kid with her mannerisms and really loves us like her own sons. I love the poeple we work with. 

Well family. That is a lot of text to read. If you read all of it, apres/maladets. I love you all. Hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy conference! Make sure to go in asking questions! 

Elder DeBry

Week 65 (3/17-3/24)


Բարև բարև բարև! Oh what a fun filled week this has been. A lot of miles have been traveled and even more adventures had. Nothing TOO exciting that sticks out but then again every day did bring a new adventure. 
     Last P-day we had our massive nerf war that we had been looking forward to. It was bomb and had a good turn out from the zone which was always good. The only casualty was a door opened on my face and left my eye a little swollen but I think it just gave me a more rugged look in my opinion. After the day ended we headed over to Panda on Glendale ave to meet with Brother Bradley, Ashot and Hambarsoom for a congratulatory dinner on behalf of Hambarsoom's baptism. His countenance certainly has changed. He just had that clean shine about him. Gotta love it! He is getting excited to get the Priesthood in the coming week as well as his trip with Ashot up to Salt lake to watch General Conference. After dinner we started to make the drive down to west hollywood to try and visit the less active family that we met a week previous and her russian neighbor that was impressed with our Armenian... but unfortunately the traffic was SO terrible that it took way longer that we had planned and so we just had to turn around by the time we got to the heart of hollywood and try by some other referrals/members that we had been told to stop by. One of them being the son of a member in Armenia. We got to this address and there were these three super sweet tatiks who invited us in and gave us some pastries and called out for the guy we were looking for, Hakob, 24, who lived in the back with his friend. They were all super impressed with our Armenian which was usual and interested how we learned and such and just as we were explaining, Hakob came out and we took the conversation with him outside and asked what he needed help with. He moved here from Armenia a few months ago and was looking for a connection to better work and help with his english. Both doable! so we set up a time to stop by with Ashot later in the week where we could have him explain who we could connect him with to get some better work. Before we headed back to Glendale we stopped by Moris' place and found him outside smoking and he told us to come back another time. if you remember, Moris is the Armenian who lived in Salt lake and has two of his sons still living there and are members! 
     Tuesday I was on an exchange with Elder Tyler. And I have to say for how interesting of a fellow he is, I do enjoy being able to help him out. He and Elder Twelves really don't see eye to eye and so I was trying to help Elder Tyler have better communication skills. But we started off the day by going up to North Hollywood to instruct the Spanish zone on some basic Armenian so they would better be able to give us referrals and such!! Brilliant right? I don't know why we didn't do this before. But it was awesome. Especially working with those missionaries who already had some language learning ability and had the desire to communicate with the Armenian people. So we were just going over some basics and some cultural questions they had. I felt like it went well. It took a little longer though and so we didn't have time to go up and do the GCC booth but we did stop by the institute to grab some lunch and then we headed back to the pad and did some studies. Funny story. Before we left the institute we ran into this Armenian guy who was smoking the sheeba outside the building and when we came out he started saying sorry and he didn't know it was a Church building and threw it down... then had Khoa come convince him to play some ping pong inside. Glendale for ya! We walked down a bit south to try by some formers and ran into this lady at a bus stop that Elder Tyler tried to talk to but she was incredibly rude and after he walked away I tried to talk to her but she straight up just said go away... so what did I do? I just stood there and acted like I was waiting for the bus. Just in time for the other Elders to drive past and come pick us up. We then took the car and went up to try by some people up in Verdugo hills/la crescenta area... not home then went down to dinner with the Carlins again and the other Elders. Seriously probably one of the funniest dinners I've ever been to. I don't know why. It started off by them not being ready on time and so we went outside to their backyard and Elders Cook, Tyler and Twelves started wrestling on the trampoline... Cook had both of them pinned within a few minutes. So ontop of that the Carlin women were just laughing and laughing and laughing all dinner. Don't know how else to explain it. After dinner we went back to the Church to meet up with the leadership. Which took a lot of waiting around and we ended up just being able to try by Elisabet and Sona but they weren't home... so kind of a bummer night. 
     Wednesday we went back down to the Hollywood district and did another language study with them. It wasn't as in depth because it was more of a followup with how their previous study had been with Elder Twelves and Tyler. After we went over with one of the companionships to visit their Armenian investigator who they are working towards baptism. His name is Havsep and he is from Lebanon and was a super funny guy. He was kind of baffled that we spoke Armenian and kept asking us why no one had ever told him there were more Armenian members and asked the other Elders when they could all come up to the church in Glendale. But it was good for us to gauge his understanding with how the lessons had been going. We started to have a lesson by asking why he hadn't been baptized and he was saying he had all these health issues that he wasn't sure he would be able to be baptized. So Elder Twelves and I reviewed the Restoration with him really quickly to see if we could clarify anything and after we were finished he said again he was already baptized and wasn't sure why he needed to be again. So we left it at that and said the other Elders would clarify next time with him. We headed back up to Glendale and continued to walk, and walk, and walk. We did stop by that lady that I had helped with her flat tire a while back and stopped by her clothing store. She was happy to see me but we tried to go over the restoration with her but she wasn't too into it just like how she was a few months ago. So we left and kept walking down to visit Jerry. He was feeling a lot better and his room didn't smell nearly as bad of urine as usual! Jerry is such a funny guy. He was telling us about all sorts of stories as we were trying not to nod off because of how hot his room is. But you gotta love him and how much he appreciates our visits. We shared a message and left. Then we made the long trek all the way up to Glendale market. I had forgotten how far of a walk it was. It hit the spot though when we finally got up there and we had a bomb conversation with the store owner Alex who was asking us a ton of questions about our beliefs and how we were different and had a prophet today. He had a concern of if God was our Father then why would he allow such bad things to happen to us. I then brought up the example of riding a bike. And how when the parents let go of a child's bike for the first time, they usually fall and hurt themselves, but we would never say that the parent didn't love the child but instead just wanted them to learn to do something good for themselves. He said he liked that. Walked over to Rita's next. Ran into some Armenian Jehovah's Witnesses and gave them a few scriptures to think about that they said they had never come across before... Rita ended up having to work late and so Brother Bradley drove us up to visit Joey and see if he could do some electrical work for him. Didn't get a lesson in but they set up a deal that Joey would do some car work in exchange for his electrical work. Finally we headed out and met with Christine Hagopian down at her house a little late and followed up how she was doing with smoking and she had been doing good!
     Thursday after a good district meeting Elder Twelves and I went over to grab some Pho and then started on the long afternoon of trying by old old old formers that we both taught when we were new. Including trying by Sarkis on verdugo (the one who we gave a french bofm to and he fed us horrid orange desert), Masis and Edmond in the super creepy house on Maple, some other random guy that I had remembered took a video of Elder Dicus and I speaking Armenian when him and his buddies were drunk and they told us to come back over and then we ran into some people on the street, Hakob and Elisabet, who were out doing yard work. Hakob was atheist but his wife was very nice and told us to come over and share a message any time we were around the neighborhood. They also taught me a new russian word, maladets, which means congrats or apres in Armenian. We had time for one more visit so we stopped by Trea and Natalie because they were not too far and had a nice chat to catch up with Trea and see if he was reading or going to church. negative. but they have some nice Armenian neighbors that I'm going to try and see if they can set up a khorovats or something with them. By then the other Elders came and picked us up and we had dinner with the Bradley's as usual. After dinner we headed down and picked up Ashot to go try by Edwin but he wasn't home but he got to meet his wife who was very happy to see that we wanted to help him find some more steady work. Then we headed down to Hollywood to meet with Hakob and we met his roommate Avik who were total bros. super nice though and the roommate was interested in our Church and why were were trying to do all these nice things for them. Ashot was super surprised though when he found out that Hakob's mom was a very active member in Armenia and that Hakob hadn't learned much about it! But it was a good visit and Ashot got to explain about the restoration. He was hungry though after so we dropped him of at In 'n out and then had to run out to make it home on time. 
     Friday was super fun. We went over to Ashot's new place early and landscaped his front yard that was a total mess before but after a full afternoon of work, lots of sweat thorns and some russian food that was super good but I can't think of the name for them, it was beautiful after we were done. Flowers and everything! the next day ashot gave us a call and told us that Adrineh his wife was just shocked at how awesome it looked compared to what it was before. But it sure was a lot of work but I love doing that kind of service out here. Don't get to do it every day! After service and a super cold shower to relax back at the pad we headed up to the church to do some weekly planning which we didn't get too far on but it was better than nothing. We ended up heading down to Hollywood to try and meet some of those referrals we never got to. None of them were interested or home so we were on our way back to catch the bus when we were on sunset and a bunch of police cars were all over and there was a helicopter overhead spot lighting us for a second or two and then moved on... it was nuts and we had no idea what was going on so we kept walking.. didn't want to be in the kill zone! but the night just got better after that. We talked to this really cool guy at the bus stop. Then I had a bomb contact on the bus where I was talking to three individuals and had a good group conversation. But the real kicker was when this bigger black lady gets on the bus, gets tripped by this white lady and the black girl just flips out at her the whole bus ride saying some of the most vulgar things I've heard on my mission. It was pretty intense because I was sitting a seat away from her and I though she was going to have a throw down with the white girl who was just laughing and not helping it at all. So we got off the bus and grabbed some quick taco bell and then found a baby squirrel by our apartment calling out for the momma squirrel and it was adorable. Serioulsy I could have picked this little guy up he was so scared. It was a good night though!

sat: road trip, henry, tujunga, Vardon smoking, alina karogh w/Nate
sun: Arpa, sisters boyfriend, helga, burbank and hollywood.      

     Saturday was another road trip day which put a lot of miles on the car. Probably about 100 just in the day. Started off by stopping by this super nice old Armenian lady who was in her nightie and told us it was a bad time and to call another day. Then an Armenian Bishop's house who wasn't home. Then we headed off to North Hollywood where we were at this complex with only a last name and a ton of the buildings had the same last name so we went searching and found some awesome people. Rima wants help with English. Another Astghrik had an adorable dog. Mary told us of a dream she had of Christ and how she was raised to always go to Church even when she didn't have the strength, knowing that she would have enough to go and pray. It was awesome. Next was Yerevand who was the random guy that showed up at Church a week or two ago and didn't stay long. But he invited us in and was super happy we stopped by and had all these questions and wanted more reading material to compare it to the bible. He was really hard of hearing so I basically had to yell to teach him and he couldn't hear Elder Twelves who was on the same couch. But he loved all that we told him and how we had scriptures to teach from. So that was cool. The last guy we visited was in Northridge which was forever away with traffic (even without traffic it was super far away) but he wasn't home but we talked to his neighbor and she was super friendly! Got a return appointment with her and her family. On the way back though we called up Henry Ammar to see if he wanted to grab some lunch and he invited us over to have some food with him and Lacey. It was super nice to catch up with them and they have some people in their ward who are Armenian but less active so we can still work with them once they get in the door. Finally we made our way back to Glendale and finished our weekly planning session in which I put in a bunch of info and Elder Twelves fell asleep. I got some good pictures. Then headed up to Tujunga. Stopped by Vardon's leather shop and talked to him and his friend who was there smoking a ton. Seriously I felt like I had smoked a few cigarettes after I left that store and we were both coughing once we got out and just stunk. But his friend was super cool. A bulletbike racer and crashed a few years ago going 180 mph. Said it was a miracle he didn't die after breaking 67 bones. Intense right? Anywyas so after we headed up to Alina and Karogh and caught them home and taught them. Karo I hadn't met but was super funny. We reviewed the BofM with them and invited them to be baptized but they didn't want to have to get baptized again. then their neighbors ca
me over and we got kicked out... good night though. 
     Sunday was awesome. Arpa wanted to go to Church and so we went on a split after Sunday school where Khoa came and picked me up and I went over to G7 to pass off Arpa to the sisters over there. She loved it. She got there early and I was able to show her around and introduce her to people. When we were at the Chapel she said she could just feel the difference and the Spirit and was super welcomed by people. She only stayed for sacrament but there were some super powerful musical numbers and she said she loved it and felt the spirit super strong. But after Church we went over and had some dinner with Helga and spent some time with them. Shared a message. Got Christine involved which was good. Tried by the Hayrapetyan's again down in Hollywood but they weren't there but met some other girl that was looking for 'more'. Then to top the night we met this really nice Muslim guy who lived by Ragned and gave us some water before we went home. 

Overall, a really good week! I love you all very much. HOpe you have a magnificent week! Keep smiling! 

Elder DeBry

Week 64 (3/10-3/17)

  Happy Saint Patricks day!! Thus far it has been an awesome day... did some laundry and studies, got woken up by an earthquake... you know, the usual. So yeah. I guess there was a 4.7 scale earthquake that hit not to far from Glendale so we felt it pretty good this morning. No worries though! No one was hurt or broken. Just still a little shocked that our apartment was shaking this morning at 6:26! But anyways.... This past week was amazing. Saturday Hambarsoom decided to get baptized and it was a wonderful, small and simple service. He is so solid. He was very touched. After almost a year and a half since Elder Dicus and I first taught him. So worth the wait. He is a perfect addition to the group! And that is just ONE of the many things that happened this week.
     Last monday we did some slack lining and as we were doing so outside the church, Anthony Tanielian who Elder Dicus and I taught and then passed him off to the zone leaders last March (a year ago... sheesh!) rode past on his bike and stopped and started doing it with us. He has grown a massive, thick beard which is totally awesome. Still a little shaky with testimony and church attendance but he is getting better. Nate drove us over to grab some groceries. Then we headed back to the church and the Carlin family (who know Grandma Joan) had all four of us Armenians over for dinner. While doing so, Sister Carlin was adamant of having us participate in a musical fireside that she wanted to put on around Easter and the other Elder threw me under the bus and told them that I did a play once upon a time and could sing mediocrely... anyways dinner was delicious. Nice to have a member meal! Then we headed back to the Church. We headed up to Sun Valley afterwards with the car to try by some referrals that we had gotten from the Sisters up there for people in their apartment building. We had to wait around a bit for them to come open the door and when we tried by them, they weren't home. Afterwards we had to run back down to Glendale to meet Brother Bradley at Rita's house. She is super funny. She kept showing up all her ceramic hedge hogs that she had for her garden. She couldn't exactly pronounce how to say "hedge hog" so we got a good chuckle. We started teaching her the Gospel of Jesus Christ when she got an important call from her husband who is in Saudi Arabia working. Rita introduced us to him over her phone. I guess he is trying to get a travelers visa to come visit but they won't let him because they think he might try and stay. So she was kind of stressed and she asked that I give her a blessing. I have to admit it was much easier to give a blessing in Armenian than I remember. 
     Tuesday morning after studies Elder Twelves and I went up to GCC to reorganize how we do the booth. Nate gave us a few good ideas to just put up a board with a topic that we have studied and answer peoples questions about it or have catchy things. So we went up and just set up a single white board and wrote up "6 ways to be happier today!" and it was actually pretty cool. In the first few minutes we had people approach us and ask us what it was we were doing and we got to talk to them and relate it to the gospel! So it was a good approach that I think we'll start to use from now on. Had some lunch down at the institute. Then had to wait around for a while for the Zone leaders and the singles ward sisters to show them how we were doing the booth from now on. Then we headed down to Hollywood again! We were headed down Hollywood blvd, saw the Was Museum, Capital records, the Pantages theater. Had to take a detour because of a movie they were filming. Then started walking around to visit some potentially less active armenian members in that area. We ran into one and should be coming back this upcoming week (telling us he is already a mormon but didn't have time to meet). The next family we visited were very welcoming and friendly though! They invited us in and told us they hadn't been able to go due to health reasons. But we should be able to visit them tonight. We had to rush back to Glendale because Nate offered to go on a quick visit to Valerik after he got off work. Traffic down in Hollywood is TERRIBLE. And I don't know if Elder Twelves' driving is any better... but Nate picked us up and we visited both Valerik and Knarik. Knarik's mom was there but told us that she wasn't. Then we showed up to Valerik's right as she was getting home and told us that she was busy and wouldn't be able to meet but that she'd call us. Super sad though. We got a call from her the next day telling us that she spoke with her husband about having us over for visits and he said that we wouldn't be able to come over because he didn't have house insurance? She said that when they were ready to meet again they would come to Church on their own time... so she dropped us. And was calling me Brian. So I wasn't too happy about that. It was time for some in 'n out to cheer us up. Then we went out with the leadership to do some visits. Elder Twelves and I ended up going to visit Christina Avoian with both Brother and Sister Bradley. We went over and she was having some health issues and a panic attack so we gave her a blessing to calm her down and shared the message of the Plan of Salvation to give her further comfort. I guess her having all these health issues were typical when they were first teaching her but the week or two before and after her baptism she was better enough to finish the lessons and be baptized! So that was cool. 
     Wednesday morning we headed up to GCC again to meet with Cynthia. We were running a bit late getting out of the apartment because of the distractions that come with being in a four-pad... such as wrestling and nerf guns... kind of frustrating. But anyways we headed up there and started talking to her. We just can't figure her out. She is interested, but tries to play it off that she isn't. She told us she wants to read more of the Bible before she gets into the Book of Mormon and that she tried to stop swearing. It is interesting though, as we started addressing her concern of wanting to clean up her language and study the scriptures more she felt the spirit and was more intune with what we were saying. But then more people came into the institute and were making a ruckus... typical. But I feel like we're making some progress with her. Slowly. Very. After that lesson we made another road trip out to Chino!  Last transfer they had been teaching someone on a weekly basis who some spanish Elders had found and been teaching but his Gospel vocabulary wasn't the strongest so we would follow up with clarification and such. He owns a dry cleaning shop and so that is where we met. It was a bit distracting. But he is super sincere that he wants to learn and go to church but he just is a busy guy and we told him that we wouldn't be able to visit him if he wasn't reading or going to Church out there in Chino. We set up a date in the next few weekends for him to attend Church and if he does then we will come back. At the end of the lesson he prayed and said one of the more sincere prayers that I have heard. Asking for more time to read and go to Church that he may know that is is true. His Armenian was pretty hard to understand because it was such a thick Western dialect. We made the long drive back and stopped by MexiCali on the way back while we were driving through LA to get up to Burbank. Missed that place. So delicious. Then we headed up to Burbank into this area right by the big Armenian Church up there where there are tons of condos full of Armenian people (according to all the missionaries that we met up there). On the way up we ran into the zone leaders who were out knocking doors. That is all they do I guess and I was shocked. Just as shocked as they were that I said I have never knocked a door on my mission! I am determined never to just knock like they do. Just doesn't make sense! We then headed up to Sun Valley again to meet the sisters to let us into their building again. This time we met their neighbor, Arpa! Who was actually super cool and really impressed that we spoke Armenian. The only thing was that she liked to talk A LOT A LOT A LOT. So we were at her doorstep for a good 40 minutes with her mostly just talking to us but at the end we were able to tell her about G7 because she has gotten into some trouble lately with the law and said she needed a better group to get involved with that would help her have a good foundation. Bingo! So we'll see where that leads. As of yesterday she is planning on going next week and she wants us to go with her so she isn't going alone. After we escaped, we visited one other referral we had received from some other burbank missionaries for a guy who apparently invited them in even though he couldn't understand them. This guy's name was Edwin and he was awesome. Invited us in. Has a a wife and two kids. Super nice guy. Impressed we speak the language. From Tehran, Iran and has lived here for a few years but it has been rough for him. He loves Christ and we shared the message of the restoration with him and his Mom who came in later in the lesson and he said that Joseph Smith's story wasn't too out of the ordinary and that he had seen Christ in a dream when he had cancer and in the dream he was healed of cancer. So that was pretty incredible. He wanted us to come over again so we scheduled another time the following day. Then to end the night we went back to the Church and met the Bradleys and met with Christine Hagopian to follow up with her smoking and goal setting of overcoming it. She had smoked the day before but we had a good lesson to help her set her goal on trying to share the gospel with someone who frustrates her and makes her want to smoke. 
     Thursday we had a good district meeting given by Elder Cook on teaching by the Spirit. After we had to rush off because we had planned to meet one of the Hollywood investigators who was Armenian and on track to be baptized. Ended up that he wasn't home. We started walking around to try and contact some people and we found some awesome Armenians who were thrilled that we spoke Armenian. One was a teacher who knew both Armenian and Russian and said that if we helped her with English she would help us learn Russian! So I was pretty stoked. We headed back to Glendale so the other Elders could use the car. Elder Tyler was finally certified to drive this past week sooooo that was interesting to see him drive. in a new city. after not driving for 6 months. bu no worries, he didn't crash! When we got back we tried by a few people, ran into Helga and stopped by to help her with a few things of service and shared a brief message and confirmed Sunday night lesson. Then we tried by David Garoian who Elder Dicus and i got yelled at because we were trying by his neighbors and used his name to contact him... whoops! Then we were picked up by the other elders to head up to Bradley's for dinner where they took us to this place where it is like subway but for pizza and you could put anything you want on it!So that was awesome. Then to end the night we headed off to meet with Edwin again and it was a pretty terrible lesson. It was my bad too... I was trying to hard to control the lesson and I was speaking to much and didn't exactly follow the lesson plan which threw Elder Twelves off... he ended up telling us how he was a missionary in Iran and telling us he wanted to come to Church on Sunday... ended okay but wasn't very satisfied. I was pretty frustrated. Don't like not having good lessons! 
     Friday during our lunch hour we went over to home depot with nate to try and find some parts to modify our nerf guns in preparation for our zombie apocalypse battle today.. didn't find any. So we did weekly planning. During which Elder Coontz, an elder in G1, cut his finger open trying to open his nerf gun with his big china town knife and ended up having to go to the hospital to get some stitches. Finished weekly planning and had a lesson with Varter and Vardon. Irocially enough we were planning on talking to them about meeting their sons who were members but not active and we met one at their house for a bit and it led right into the lesson. Then we had some Chipotle with Nate again. Headed up to Burbank again to hit up the Cabrini condos and find some of the Armenian members there. To no avail but we did meet this one english member who was inactive and she referred us to one of her neighbors so that was good! Before we called it a night we stopped by Ashot's place to talk about the baptism the next day. He was super happy that we stopped by and we took Niki for a walk and talked to him about teaching his wife, Adrineh, whom he hopes will agree to take the lessons this week. But I guess we'll see! 
     Saturday was the baptism of Hambarsoom Arstakesyan. It was only us four, the Bradley's and Turley's, and Ashot and Hambarsoom. I conducted the meeting :) Hambarsoom was in tears after the meeting as everyone was congratulating him. The spirit was very strong because of how simple it was. But after it was all finished, Henry Ammar brought us some tacobell and we waited around for Edwin to show up to take him on a tour but he never did... after that we headed up to Tujunga to have a BBQ with Joey and Ella! They had us come over and help prepare the food which took longer than expected (but now I know how to make awesome kabobs for everyone when I get home! So be excited.) Elder and Sister Plewe from the office came with one of their sons and grandsons who is going on a mission soon. I guess the son was a professor at BYU and wrote a book called 'Mapping Mormonism'. Joey looked it up on amazon and it is sold out and people are selling their copies for $400... but anyways it was really good dinner. We tried to share a lesson afterwards with Joey and Ella but after 8 min Joey got up and said that was enough for him and just left... after a few minutes we got back into the lesson with Ella and she was more interested than he was and understood what we were teaching. She was just hesitant to be committed and shy to pray but she knew that she could pray for happiness and pray to know if it is true. So it wasn't a total bust. AFter the BBQ we headed out to Burbank again by the Disney offices (yeah, we put a lot of miles on our car this week...) and tried by a referral that we had gotten. The husband Garnik answered the phone and wasn't too interested. Nicer than some. But still didn't let us in. It was overall a good day though. Frustrated that we were at Joey's for so long... definitely the longest lesson I've been at. Hopefully it was worth it all. 
     Sunday was a really good set of meetings. I translated for Sunday School which Mariam taught (I'm improving!). In relief society Elder Twelves was translating for Arousiak and kept interrupting her to allow those who had comments finish their thoughts (which I thought was rude) and then we both team translated for Sacrament where we had a high councilman speak about his conversion story and then Brother Bradley spoke briefly. It was really good. No investigators came :( after the meetings we practiced a musical number (Me, Bradley, Kristina, and Elders Twelves and Cook) that we will be singing on Easter or around then. Can't sing as high as I used to be. After we took Bradley over to visit Aylin and Zhorants who we caught before they were about to head out for the day and we taught a short 10 min lesson on the Book of Mormon which I thought was really good and what they needed to hear and then left. We headed up to the Cabrinis one last time and got stopped by a security officer who was threatening to arrest us if we were just aimlessly knocking doors. Thankfully we had some people's names who we were trying to visit. We headed up to the Turley's for a delicious meat and potato dinner and home made strawberry  pie. Noms. Since we were in the area we tried by both Memek and Raffi who we saw last Sunday but they both weren't available. We tried by one last referral we had gotten in the Glenoaks corridor and ran into this guy who was telling us there wasn't a reason to be happy just because we were on God's errand because of all the wars he had been in and had seen and that were going on. Kinda brushed him off and kept going. Masis Aghazarian wasn't home. Drove back home and then walked to Helga's where they fed us again and Christine got mad at Elder Twelves for not signing a journal that she had given him 9 months ago to sign... that put a downer on the night and made it kind of awkward for the duration. But we got to talk about General Conference which made us all excited. Super excited. Can't wait. 

Well everyone, that was my week! I love you all very much and hope you have a wonderful upcoming week! Be safe and happy! 

Elder DeBry